Category Archives: shifters

Bite Me by Shelly Laurenston

Bite Me (Pride, #9)

ORDER A COPY: Bite Me (The Pride Series)

Publisher: Brava
Publishing Date: March 25, 2014
Paperback: 382 pages

Rating: 5 stars

Livy Kowalski has no time for idiots. When you shapeshift into a honey badger, getting through life’s irritants is a finely honed skill. Until she gets stuck housing her nutso cousin and dealing with her dad’s untimely and unexplained demise.

That’s where Vic Barinov comes in—or his house does. Vic can’t step outside without coming back to find Livy devouring his honey stash and getting the TV remote sticky. It gets his animal instincts all riled up. But he’ll have to woo her at high speed: all hell is breaking loose, and Livy is leading the charge.

Livy Kowalski is petite, shapely, vicious and all Honey Badger in Shelly Laurenston’s latest book in the Pride series.

Livy’s family is disappointed by her. From the cradle she has been taught by her family how to steal, how to pick locks, how to appraise valuables and instead of stealing art, Livy wants to waste her time  creating it. Her art is everything to Livy but with a big show coming up, and she feels like her art has dried up and if a dry spell isn’t bad enough, somehow she has been dragged in to shoot the wedding of Bo Novikov and Blayne Thorpe. Artist to wedding photographer, could things get any worse.

Oh, but they can. Someone let her cousin Melly out of prison a few months early. It seems you can get good behavior even if you fake your own kidnapping to get more attention from your boyfriend. And now Melly has decided to move into Livy’s place for now. So going home is not an option.

And that’s why Vic has found Livy hiding up in his kitchen cabinet eating the rest of his honey. He wouldn’t mind so much if she used the key he gave her, but she keeps digging holes into the side of his house and the shifter-contractors are starting the jack the price up for fixing them.

Vic is more like his laid back bear father than his tiger mother, and like most hybrids, he has a few quirks of his own. But it’s his laid back nature that makes him able to roll with Livy’s volatile and usually violent nature. She’s not one for sharing anything–emotions, feelings, thoughts…honey, yet Vic is always there when she needs him.

Vic has been sent to find Frankie Whitlan, the man who has been organizing shifter hunts.   He asks Livy to use her B&E skills to break into Allison Whitlan’s apartment to see if her father has contacted her. Livy finds something in that apartment that has her seeking out the family that she usually avoids, but Vic can’t get her to open up.

After weekend trip to the bear town of Honeyville (yeah, they know it’s quaint) to gorge on some gourmet honey and do a little jousting (yes, I said jousting), Livy finally confesses what she found in that apartment and it is enough to anger every shifter so that they agree to work with the honey badgers to bring in Whitlan to finally face shifter justice.

What I love best about Shelly Laurenston’s shifter series is how true to the animal nature she keeps the characters. The bears are either laid back or loners or aggressive, depending on the type of bear. The cats are sultry and protective. The wolves stick with packs. The honey badgers are all petite and aggressive and nothing says party like a backyard full of poisonous snakes.

I love the introduction of Vic’s new partner, Shen, who is very laid back and always snacking on bamboo.

This book could be read as a stand alone, but there are many past characters who show up in this story that you won’t understand the relationships if this is your first Pride book. We even get a surprise Smith showing up.   And it is more fun when you understand that the Smith’s are the hillbilly/moonshine running wolf pack vs. the rich and powerful Van Holtz wolf pack vs. the prodigy-filled jackal family.

There is a lot of wit mixed in this paranormal series and the pack, pride or clan being featured has a lot to do with how the story goes.

Shelly Laurenston offers a lot of fun for anyone looking for a lighthearted paranormal series.

Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Scene:

(Livy and Vic attend a Renaissance Faire in the bear town of Honeyville, and Livy decides to work out some of her aggression by jousting.)

Livy stared up at the horse one of the faire employees held for her. She glanced over and said, “You can’t be serious.”

“These are horses bred for two things. Handling the weight of big guys in armor…and not panicking at the scent of shifters. Helping some tiny feminist trying to prove something was not on our list of things to accomplish during the breeding process,” he finished.

Livy looked under the horse and asked, “Huh. What’s this? It looks bad.”

The faire employee bent down to see what Livy was looking at and that’s when she rammed the pummel of her sword into the employee’s tibia. She heard something snap, and he went down with a roar onto one knee. Before he could fall back, Livy climbed onto his shoulders and mounted the horse that was way too big for her.

She looked down at the now-sobbing bear. “Thanks for the help.”

Vic walked into the prep area and stopped when he saw her.

“Have you ever ridden a horse before?” he asked.

“No. There were horses at the private school I went to. Riding lessons were mandatory and were part of our gym grade, but every time I got close to them, the horses tried to stomp me into the ground. Eventually, I had to be excused.”

“But now you’re going to ride one that’s too big for you so you can…joust?”

“That’s the plan.” Someone put a lance in her hand. It was heavy and too long, but livy held on to it. “How do I look?” she asked again.


“If you’re going to be negative…”

Livy moved around in the saddle.

“What?” Vic asked.

“I wish I didn’t have to wear this armor. It’s making my skin itch.”

“Take that armor off, female, and still try to joust, and I’ll beat you to death myself.”

Livy nodded. “Subtle.”

“I’m not subtle. Never said I was subtle. Worried you’re about to do something stupid? Yes. That is accurate.”

“Honey Badger’s up!” someone called out.

“I’m up.” Livy stared at the back of the horse’s head. “You can go now,” she told the beast.

Vic dropped his head into his hands.

Chuckling, she tapped the sides of the horse’s flanks with her heels and rode to the field. True, she might not have ridden the horses at her fancy private school, but that didn’t mean the gym teacher wasn’t a bitch who hated Livy so much she made the fourteen-year-old sit and watch the others for the entire period. At the time, Livy hated Mrs. Webb, but at the moment, she’d discovered a new found appreciation.

Once Livy was led into position, she looked around at the crowd. The faire was surprisingly big and had a lot of attendees. Even the cats from the town next door came to the Honeyville Annual Renaissance Faire.

And apparently the joust was the most popular attraction; the makeshift arena was already packed, with the audience continuing to grow.

“Honey stick?”

A seven-foot older grizzly stood next to her, his face obscured by an enormous beard and long brown and gray hair. Another hippie, she was guessing. Like Rita.

Livy took the offered honey stick, bit off the tip, and sucked out the honey inside while the grizzly studied her a moment before asking, “I know you honey badgers are tough and all, but you do know that we’re going to crush your tiny little body into the dirt, don’t ya?”

“Yeah. I know that.”

“You don’t mind?”

“Not as much as I probably should.” She shrugged. “Trying to work out some issues.”

“Ahhh. I see.” The grizzly leaned in. “Well, me and the guys had a thought. You see, the reason we have this first night of jousting is because we always have to work through the cats from next door before we can get to a good rousing joust with the rest of us. The felines bring a lot of money to this faire, so we put up with ‘em. But it gets a bit boring.”

Livy again looked around at the audience, which was still growing…with bears.

“You want me to take out the cats…don’t you?” Livy asked.

“Cat humiliation and bear entertainment all rolled in one. Think you can do that?”

“What do I get out of it?” Because at the end of the day, Livy was still her mother’s daughter.

“Year’s supply of your favorite honey from Rita’s story?”

Livy immediately thought of the cinnamon-infused honey and she sort of shuddered. A good shudder, though. A delicious, honey-filled shudder.

“I’m in.”

The grizzly patted her leg. “Have fun, sweetie.”

Livy planned to…

Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs

Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson, #3)

ORDER A COPY: Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson, Book 3)

Publisher: Penguin Group
Publishing Date: January 2, 2008
Paperback: 287 pages

Rating: 4 stars

Mechanic Mercy Thompson can shift her shape – but not her loyalty. When her former boss and mentor is arrested for murder and left to rot behind bars by his own kind, it’s up to Mercy to clear his name, whether he wants her to or not.

Mercy’s loyalty is under pressure from other directions, too. Werewolves are not known for their patience, and if Mercy can’t decide between the two she cares for, Sam and Adam may make the choice for her.

Mercy Thompson has always tried to keep out of the way of other preternatural creatures. When you know that goes bump in the night, you know it is best not to let them notice you. Growing up in a werewolf pack, Mercy has always been in and around pack business. Recent events have caused Mercy to now owe favors to the vampires and to the fae and she is making a lot of friends and enemies with both groups. The vampires calling in that favor didn’t go so well for Mercy, so what makes her think helping out the fae would be any better?

The Grimm brothers had it right. Fae are not nice creatures and everything they do comes with a price.

Uncle Mike and Zee, Mercy’s friend and mentor, have asked for Mercy’s help to find out who has been killing fae on the fae reservation. In her coyote form, Mercy’s nose can pick up the scent of anyone who has been at all the crime scenes. Except Mercy’s immunity to some magic allows her to see some things on the reservation that the fae don’t want outsiders to know about.

When Mercy points out the killer, Uncle Mike and Zee go to have a talk with him (fae code for make him disappear forever) only to find out someone beat them to it. Someone with enough strength to rip off a man’s head. Surprising the police arrive at the door just as Zee and Uncle Mike arrive and Zee is arrested for murder.

The Grey Lords who rule over the fae are more than willing to sacrifice Zee to the humans so that no more attentions is focused in on the fae, but Mercy is not willing to sacrifice her friend and let the real killer go free and the Grey Lords aren’t very happy with Mercy’s decision to get in their way.

I am really getting into this series, but this was a much darker story than the two prior books. In the last one Mercy is helping the vampires but learning things that the vampires don’t want her to know, like how to kill a vamp. In this one Mercy is learning too much about the secretive and mysterious fae. Vampires each have different gifts and abilities, but that is nothing to the broad spectrum of the fae.

Even Zee becomes angry with Mercy in this story, but whether it is because she is drawing the attention of the Grey Lords by fighting Zee’s imprisonment or whether he is angry because Mercy tells fae secrets to the attorney she hires, Mercy isn’t sure.  When Zee calls due the note on the garage (which is a serious fae spit-in-the-face), Mercy is heartbroken that she has lost her friend and mentor.

It is a much darker story since Mercy does not get away unscathed from this adventure.  Fae magic is used against her in the most brutal way. This leads to anxiety attacks and PTSD issues in the next story. She is now being watched by the Vampire Mistress and the Grey Lords and being under the protection of the wolves may no longer be enough to keep Mercy safe.

Favorite Scene:

“You are telling me that Zee went to O’Donnell’s house to murder him?”

I took a deep breath. “You aren’t going to understand this. You don’t know the fae, not really. Imprisoning a fae is…impractical. First of all, it’s damned difficult. Holding a person is hard enough. Holding a fae for any time at all, if he doesn’t want to be held, is near impossible. Even without that, a life sentence is highly impractical when fae can live for hundreds of years.” Or a lot more, but the public didn’t know that. “And when you let them go, they aren’t likely to shrug it off as justice served. The fae are a vengeance-hungry race. If you imprison a fae, for whatever reason, you’d better be dead when he gets out or you’ll wish you were. Human justice just isn’t equipped to deal with the fae, so they take care of it. A fae who commits a serious crime—like murder—is simply executed on the spot.” The werewolves did the same.

She pinched the bridge of her nose as if I were giving her a headache.

“O’Donnell wasn’t fae. He was human.”

I thought about trying to explain why a people who were used to dealing out their own justice would care less that the perpetrator was human, but decided it was pointless. “The fact remains that Zee did not kill O’Donnell Someone got there first.”

Her bland face didn’t indicate belief, so I asked, “Do you know the story of Thomas the Rhymer?”

“True Thomas? It’s a fairy tale,” she said. “A prototype of Irving’s ‘Rip Van Winkle.’”

“Uhm,” I said. “Actually, I’m under the impression that it was mostly a true story, Thomas’s I mean. Thomas was, at any rate, a real historical person, a noted political entity of the thirteenth century. He claimed that he’d been caught for seven years by the queen of the fairies, then allowed to return. He either asked the fairy queen for a sign that he could show his kin so they would believe him when he told them where he’d been, or he stole a kiss form the fairy queen. Whatever the reason, he was given a gift, and like most fairy gifts, it was more curse than blessing—the fairy queen rendered him incapable of lying. For a diplomat or a lover or a businessman, that was a cruel thing to do, but the fae are often cruel.”

“Your point?”

She didn’t sound happy. I guess she didn’t like thinking any of the fairy tales were true. It was a common attitude.

People could believe in the fae, but fairy tales were fairy tales. Only children would really believe in them.

It was an attitude that the fae themselves promoted. In most folktales, the fae are not exactly friendly. Take Hansel and Gretel, for instance. Zee once told me that there are a lot of fae in the rez, if left to their preferred diets, would happily eat people…especially children.

“He was cursed to become like the fae themselves,” I told her. “Most fae, including Zee, cannot tell a lie. They are very, very good at making you think they are saying one thing, when they mean another, but they cannot lie.”

“Everyone can lie.”

I smiled at her tightly. “The fae cannot. I don’t know why. They can do the damnedest things with the truth, but they cannot lie.”

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, #1)

ORDER A COPY: Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, Book 1)

Publisher: Penguin Group
Publishing Date: January 31, 2006
Paperback: 288 pages

Rating: 4 stars

Mercedes “Mercy” Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water.

Mercy is a “walker” who can turn into a coyote, but who was raised by werewolves, and not just any werewolf, by Bran, the Marrok (or leader of all the werewolves).

Mercy lives an ordinary life, well, sort of…she owns her own garage which she bought from a retiring Fae named Zee, and she is friends with a vampire named Stefan who has a VW bus painted to look like the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo.

She also shares a property line with the local Alpha of the Columbia Basin pack named Adam Hauptman and his teenage daughter, Jesse.  Adam keeps a powerful Russian witch on retainer for hiding the werewolf’s presence from the humans. Pretty much an average, ordinary life.

When a runaway teen shows up at her garage, she quickly smells that he is a werewolf and this young werewolf is not part of a pack. Mercy offers him a job so she can keep an eye out for him. When a werewolf and a human come looking for him, Mercy is forced to help him defend himself. After blood is shed, Mercy calls Adam in to take care of the young Wolf and introduce him to pack life.

But things aren’t that simple. The people who are looking for Mac are daring, or just stupid enough to attack Adam in his home. Mercy helps Adam defeat the intruders, but not before Adam is seriously injured and his daughter, Jesse, is kidnapped. Mercy needs to find a more dominant werewolf fast because once Adam regains consciousness, his injured wolf will be uncontrollable until he is healed. The only ones Mercy knows that are strong enough to control a powerful Alpha like Adam is Bran and his sons.

Mercy might not be part of Adam’s pack, but she is now embroiled in what might be a pack war. She has to find out who attacked Adam and who would have taken his daughter.

I was recently offered a review copy of the upcoming Night Broken (which is Book #8 in this series) so I did a search of the Mercy Thompson series and it sounded right up my alley.  I decided to take some time to catch up and get to know some of the characters.

This is a much better Sookie Stackhouse type of story plot, meaning she is not part of any specific group, but she keeps getting dragged into pack or vampire business. In this series, Mercy is a preternatural creature since she is half human/half walker. She is immune to some magic and she can shape shift into the form of a coyote. She is not a part of Adam’s pack (even though Adam told his pack Mercy was his) but she gets drawn into pack business when Adam is badly injured, and something makes her afraid to call in his pack for fear that there is a traitor in the pack. Who else would try to attack an Alpha in his own home?

She has several preternatural connections who she contacts to assist her in helping Adam heal as well as tracking down who would abduct his daughter.

I like that although Mercy is brave, she is not stupid. She doesn’t just jump into a fight unprepared. For example, when Mac is tracked down by a werewolf and a human. Mercy knows she can’t out power the werewolf and the human has a gun. She watches and observes and it isn’t until Mac is being attacked that she jumps in, using the element of surprise and getting the werewolf to chase her while using her brains to outmaneuver his bulk.

This story wasn’t non-stop action since it was the first in the series and involves a lot of introduction of characters, including explaining the dangers of the werewolves and the vampires in general, and how the Fae have been forced into the public eye and how the werewolves are considering joining them. We are also introducing the base characters of the story: including Mercy, Adam, Jesse, Zee, Stefan, Bran, Samuel, several members of Adam’s pack as well as Bran’s pack, and Mercy’s relationship with each of these characters.

It was good storytelling and interesting world building and it held my interest throughout. I have already started Book 2 where we start by Stefan asking Mercy to make good on the favor he did her helping find Jesse.

Personally, I think Olivia Wilde would be a perfect Mercy Thompson.  Can someone get casting on the phone?

Favorite Scene:

“What happened?” he asked, his voice softer than the first snowfall in winter.

“It’s complicated,” I said, holding his gaze for two full seconds before I turned my head and gestured toward the body. “The dead one is there. If he belongs to you, he is new—and you haven’t been doing your job. He was as deaf and blind as a human. I was able to take him by surprise, then he was too ignorant to realize that the wound wouldn’t close as fast as usual if it was given by a preternatural creature. He let himself bleed out because he was too caught up in the chase to—”

“Enough, Mercedes,” he growled as he strode over to the dead wolfman and knelt beside him. He moved the body and one of the corpse’s arms flopped down limply on the ground.

Mac whined eagerly, then bowed his head and pressed it against my thigh so that he couldn’t see.

The sound drew Adam’s attention from the body to the boy at my feet.

He growled. “This one isn’t one of mine—and neither is that.”

“So gracious,” I said. “Your mother should be complimented on your manners, Hauptman.”

“Careful,” he whispered. It wasn’t a threat, it was a warning.

Okay. He was scary. Really scary. He’d probably have been scary even when he was just a human. But it wouldn’t do to let him know he intimidated me.

“Adam Hauptman,” I said politely to show him how it was done. “Allow me to introduce you to Mac—that’s all his name I know. He was attacked by a werewolf in Chicago about two moons ago. The werewolf killed his girlfriend, but he survived. He was taken by his attacker and put in a cage. A man who sounds a lot like the Chicago Alpha Leo sold him to someone who held him inside a cage in a semitrailer and used him for what sounds like some sort of drug experiments until he broke free. Last Friday he showed up at my door looking for work.”

“You didn’t inform me that you had a strange wolf on your doorstep?”

I gave him a put-upon sigh. “I am not one of your pack members, Adam. I know this is difficult for you to fathom, so I’ll speak slowly: I don’t belong to you. I am under no obligation to tell you anything.”

Adam swore harshly. “New werewolves are dangerous, woman. Especially when they are cold and hungry.” He looked at Mac, and his voice changed completely, the heat and anger gone. “Mercy, come here.”

I didn’t look down to see what he’d noticed in Mac’s face. I took a step, but Mac was wrapped around my left leg. I stopped before I fell. “Uhm. I’m a little stuck for the moment.”

“For a smart girl, you’re pretty stupid sometimes,” he said, his voice rich and gentle so as not to startle the werewolf by my side. “Locking yourself in a garage with a new wolf and a dead body isn’t the smartest thing you could have done. I don’t have a connection with him yet. It would help if you have his real name.”

“Mac,” I murmured. “What’s your name?”

“Alan,” he said dreamily, coming up to his knees so his face was pressed against my belly. “Alan MacKenzie Frazier after my grandfather who died the year I was born.” The friction of his movement rucked my shirt up and he licked my bare skin. To an outsider it might have looked sensual, but the abdomen is a vulnerable spot on the body, a favorite of predators. “You smell good,” he whispered.

He smelled like werewolf, and I started to panic—which wasn’t a very useful thing to do.

“Alan,” said Adam, rolling the name on his tongue. “Alan MacKenzie Frazier, come here to me.”

Mac jerked his head away from me but tightened his arms painfully on my hips. He looked at Adam and growled, a low rumble that caused his chest to vibrate against my leg.

“Mine,” he said.

Adam’s eyes narrowed. “I don’t think so. She is mine.”

It would have been flattering, I thought, except that at least one of them was talking about dinner and I wasn’t certain about the other. While Adam had Mac distracted, I reached behind me and grabbed my big crowbar from the shelf directly behind us. I brought it down on Mac’s collarbone.

It was an awkward hit because I didn’t have much leverage, but the collarbone, even on a werewolf, is not hard to damage. I heard the bone crack and wrenched myself out of Mac’s grip and across the garage before he recovered from the unexpected pain.

I didn’t like hurting him, but he would heal in a few hours as long as I didn’t let him eat me. I didn’t think he was the kind of person who would recover from murder as easily as he would a broken bone.

Unclaimed by Sara Humphreys

Unclaimed (The Amoveo Legend, #5)

ORDER A COPY: Unclaimed (The Amoveo Legend)

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publishing Date: December 3, 2013
Paperback: 320 pages

Rating: 3 stars

Tatiana Winters loves the freedom of her life as a veterinarian in Oregon. It’s only reluctantly that she agrees to help cure a mysterious illness among the horses on a Montana ranch—the ranch of the Amoveo Prince. Tatiana is no ordinary vet—she’s a hybrid from the Timber Wolf Clan, but she wants nothing to do with the world of the Amoveo shifters.

Dominic Trejada serves as a Guardian, one of the elite protectors of the Prince’s Montana ranch. As a dedicated Amoveo warrior, he is desperate to find his mate, and time is running out. He knows Tatiana is the one—but if he can’t convince her, he may not be able to protect her from the evil that’s rapidly closing in.

Tatiana Winters and her twin brother, Raife, were raised by the same foster mother as Layla Nickelsen. All three are half-human/half-Amoveo and they promised to protect each other from the Amoveo and stay out of their world. Even though Layla has since found happiness with her Amoveo mate, William Fleury, Tatiana was doing everything to avoid the Amoveo male who is seeking her in her dreams. She refuses to let fate dictate who she can love. She just wants to stay quietly in her Oregon home, caring for sick animals. It is only her love for Layla that can get Tatiana to agree to go anywhere near the home of the Amoveo Prince to determine if someone is trying to kill the Prince’s horses.

Once Tatiana arrives on the property, she immediately realizes her error. The man she has been trying to avoid in her dreams is standing right in front of her and from the look in his eyes, he knows exactly who she is. He might be tall, dark and gorgeous and he might be making her tingle in all the right places, but she is not fool enough to think that an Amoveo male like Dominic is going to agree to some hot sex and let her walk away from him.

Dominic is finding his loyalties being torn between his duty as guardian to the Prince and protecting his mate now that he has found her. Although he may war between his own duty and his desire to claim his mate, he is not going to let an opportunity to be with Tatiana pass him by. Just when Tatiana is ready to submit to a night of passion in Dominic’s arms, they all find themselves in the midst of a war but with the enemy hiding in the shadows, it is hard to protect the ones you love when you don’t know if you are being attacked by an enemies or someone you thought as a friend?

I have enjoyed this series. I have enjoyed the characters Sara Humphreys has created and some of the interesting twists that she has introduced. I even enjoyed the new characters introduced in her new vampire series. This book just rubbed me the wrong way.

I will start by reminding you that in the last book, Undone, the Amoveo were fighting the humans who wanted to wipe out the Amoveo “animals,” but now they had the Purists, who didn’t want the half-breeds mating with the full-bred Amoveo and polluting the bloodlines to contend with. The Purists were kidnapping selected full-blooded Amoveo women and trying to impregnate them with sperm from full-blooded males to help increase the dying Amoveo population. Mariana was rescued from this facility before she was experimented on, but upon rescuing the women (most of whom died from bearing children not from their mates) they also found Steven (from Book #1 and #2) and his mate who had been experimented on and impregnated with his sperm.

Steve and Courtney are a big part of this story. From conversations with the author, I thought I understood that Steven’s story would be the last of the series. I honestly checked Goodreads twice to see if I had missed Steven’s story. It wasn’t until the very, very end that I understood why they were introduced as a couple before their own story was released, but it bugged me the entire story that this couple was focused on without having their story. By the time I understood why, I had been annoyed by this the entire time I was reading.

I was also pretty confused by why the Prince and his family, especially during a time of civil war, only had two guards for his entire property. His prior guard, Dominic’s sister, left for the purist cause. Although all the characters from the prior books showed up to help defend against the assault, they were not as powerful as some of the Purist leaders and number-wise, a civil war shouldn’t come down to about 9 guys on each side. That’s not a war, that’s a baseball game.

We also find out that the purist are all fighting in rags and living in the woods since their research facility was destroyed. What the heck? These purists were made up of some of the more powerful families and being shifters, who live longer than humans, and has plenty of time to amass a fortune. That not-very-secret facility must have cost a pretty penny if they were all poverty stricken now that it was destroyed.

There were too few good guys defending the Prince, including the Prince doing his own fighting, and too many enemies with too many issues. On top of all the chaos, we are trying to balance the romance storyline where the Dominic and Tatiana sizzled when they came near each other, but neither one wanted to upset their lives with the commitment of mating,, even though by not mating they would both lose their Avoveo powers.

All of her stories, this one just didn’t grab me.

Received ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Scene:

Tatiana strode toward the back of the cabin and tugged open the glass sliders. She stepped out onto the small deck and leaned on the railing. Dominic’s gaze skimmed up her well-shaped legs, which were bronzed from the summer sun, then wandered along the curve of her hip and up her toned arms.

Images of her naked body curled around his flooded his mind…

“Can we swim in that pond?” She looked at him over her shoulder and smirked as she caught him checking her out.

“What?” He blinked and shook his head, but those images of her still wandered through his imagination. “I’m sorry. What?”

“Dominic?” Smiling, she looked back out to the mirrorlike body of water in the distance. “That pond? Can we swim in it?”

“It’s not a pond, actually. It’s a swimming pool.” He moved closer so he stood next to her, but not close enough to accidentally touch her. “It’s a freshwater swimming pool complete with heat in the winter and lights at night. Salinda had it designed to look like a pond so it wouldn’t ruin the natural landscape.”

Heat radiated form her body, and even amid the thick summer air, he could feel it rippling over him like a siren song. Calling him. Daring him to touch her again. Tempting him to break the stupid deal he made with her, throw her on the ground, and kiss her silly.

Why did he make that deal? That was the dumbest fucking move ever.

Dominic tightened his grip on the railing and squared his shoulders against the all-consuming urge to stroke that gorgeous skin. Instead, he focused on the setting sun and grit his teeth against the driving physical need to connect with her.

“Are you alright?” Tatiana’s voice, soft and delicate, drifted over him with the breeze.

“No,” he said, his voice tight with restraint. Dominic looked down into those huge brown eyes, and he knew he was a goner. “I’m not alright. Not at all.”

Without thinking he brushed a lock of dark hair off her forehead, and as her warm skin rushed beneath his fingertips, a wave of static electricity rippled up his arm and shot through his body. Her eyes widened, and those red lips that tasted like cherries, parted temptingly as she sucked in a slow, quivering breath.

“I’m doing my best to be a gentlemen and keep my word,” he whispered as he trailed one finger along her jawline. Her body wavered closer, her eyes searched his for answers, but none came as the ripples of nerve tingling electric slowed. “I have a feeling I’m going to welsh on our deal.”

“I think we should try to stay clear of each other,” Tatiana murmured. She nodded slowly. Her tongue darted out, moistening her plump lower lip.

“It’s really the best way to handle this situation. Neither of us wants a mate, so the smart thing to do would be to forget it. We still have free will. Don’t we?”

Tatiana inched nearer in spite of what she was saying. Her hand brushed his as it curled along the weather wood railing, and that same zapping sensation fired through his body. An odd buzzing filled Dominic’s head as their energy signatures whipped through the air like an invisible tornado, dancing around them like a whirling dervish. The buzzing reached a crescendo, and with one final pass, their energy waves merged with a jolt.

Tatiana cried out in surprise and stepped back, but Dominic linked one arm around her waist and pulled her up against him. Her hands gripped his shoulders, and although she didn’t push him away, she gaped at him like a deer in the headlights.

“Wha–what was that?” She asked breathlessly, her voice edged with fear. “I don’t think I can handle this.”

“I’m no entirely sure, but I think our energy signatures merged, and we’ve imprinted on each other. There is one thing I am sure of.” Dominic kissed the corner of her mouth and murmured against her cheek. “The only woman I’m looking to handle…is you.”

A Cursed Moon by Cecy Robson

A Cursed Moon (Weird Girls, #2.5)

ORDER A COPY: A Cursed Moon: A Weird Girls Novella (A Penguin Special from Signet Eclipse)

Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Publishing Date: December 3, 2013
Paperback: 217 pages

Rating: 4 stars

Meet the furry big brother that the Wird sisters never had…

Bren is a cocky, brash hound of a werewolf who loathes the idea of belonging to Aric’s pack—much less finding a mate. But Bren’s hotheaded behavior lands him in the doghouse when he defies Aric’s authority in front of his pack, bringing up a sore subject that’s bound to make the Alpha wolf’s blood boil…

Luckily for him, no one can stay mad at Bren and his wild charm for long. And when some frightening ghosts launch a hostile paranormal takeover, Bren will team up with Celia to take down the evil ghouls before they hurt someone they both love…

Bren is a lone wolf—or werewolf that is. He has been without a pack since his parents died when he was a kid and the elder’s wouldn’t allow him to join his father’s pack. Bren is okay with that because his “pack” consists of the people who matter to him: his roommate, Dan and Celia Wird and her sisters. They are the only people he can count on, the only people he can trust, and the only people he would die to protect.

And to protect those he loves against the growing danger from the demons and the witches of The Tribe that keep calling together the evilest of supernaturals, he would even agree to join Aric’s pack, even though the pure-blooded bastard broke Celia’s heart.

That doesn’t mean he is going to play by Aric’s rules like a good little pup. Bren’s mouth has a habit of writing checks his ass can’t cash and mouthing off to an alpha-were might not always be the best way to show that you are willing to be part of the pack.

When their friend Dan is kidnapped by soul-sucking ghouls, Bren has to quickly decide if he can trust the pack or will he and Celia go it alone to find Dan before it is too late.

As the Weird Girl series is told by Celia’s point of view, this was interesting to read from Bren’s perspective. He gives us some insight into his friendships with Dan and Celia and why he they mean so much to him. We also learn why he is a lone wolf and why he likes it that way.

This story continues on from where we left off after A Cursed Embrace. There is plenty of action since the witch is now calling forth cursed souls and will try to possess bodies and they keep showing up around Bren and Celia.

It was an enjoyable addition to the series and gives Celia’s friends a little more depth to their characters. I don’t know what I enjoyed more: watching Bren torment his roommate Dan or Celia, Bren mouthing off to Aric, Bren riling up Aric’s new fiance or the always entertaining disapproving neighbor, Mrs. Mancuso.

Received an ARC courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Scene:

I jumped out and ambled toward the blue Colonial. Mrs. Mancuso, the girls’ elderly neighbor, was sweeping her front steps by the light of her lawn jockey’s lantern, a freak-ass little statue with bright red pants and a lazy eye. Despite the late hour she brushed her little broom back and forth with quick precise motions, even though any sap could have eaten off of the wooden steps as they were. She was probably bored, and lonely. The Wird sisters seemed to be her only form of entertainment.

She buttoned the top of her coat to protect her frail body against the cold. As a were, I’d keep the majority of my strength and reflexes till my dying day. Little old humans like her didn’t have that luxury. I grinned with my new set of chompers and winked her way. “Hey, sex-uh lady.”

Mrs. Mancuso smiled and tucked her neck skin into her brown wool scarf. “Oh, Brendan, you’re such a good boy to flirt with an old lady.” She furrowed her penciled in brows and glanced over at Celia’s former home sweet home. “Too good a boy in fact to be hanging out with those Wird girls.”

I nodded in agreement. “Don’t worry, Mrs. M, I’m trying to help them see the light. I plan to spend the next few hours reading to them from the Bible. They’ll come around, just leave it to me.”

The front door of the Wird house crashed open. There stood Celia—five-foot-three inches of long lethal muscles in skinny jeans and a tight white long sleeved T-shirt. The breeze picked up, sweeping her long mane of brown curls around her face. She pushed her hair out of the way, exposing her narrowing green eyes. Her supersized hearing had obviously picked up my chat with their not-so-favorite neighbor.

I waved. “Hey, Ceel. What’s wrong? Still mad I made you cancel your porn subscription?”

It was really hard not to laugh at her reaction. Celia subscribing to porn was like me joining a Justin Bieber fan club—so not happening. Her eyes shot open only to narrow further at Mrs. Mancuso’s stiff, reprimanding middle finger.

Celia stormed to the edge of her front porch, and while a wide driveway separated both houses, I still caught her golden skin reddening beneath the whitening glare of her porch light. “Mrs. Mancuso, I do not have a porn—”

“Harlot!” Mrs. Mancuso shot back. She lifted her broom defensively, daring Celia to cross the driveway and step foot on her property. Celia pinched the bridge of her nose. In a Mancuso/Celia Wird smack-down, Mrs. M won every time. Not that Celia couldn’t crush her like a fistful of berries, but because Ceel didn’t pick on those weaker than her, no matter how much they annoyed her.

I placed my hand on Mrs M’s shoulder. “It’s okay, honey-bunches. I won’t stop until the sin is washed from her wanton soul.”

“Bren, that’s enough out of you.”

Mrs. M patted my arm, ignoring Celia. “You’re a good boy, Branden,” she said once more.

She flipped Celia off again before shuffling into her house.

A Cursed Moon includes a preview of the upcoming Weird Girls novel Cursed by Destiny!


Cecy (pronounced Sessy) Robson is a full-time writer, registered nurse, wife, and mother living in the Great Northwest. A member of Romance Writers of America, she attributes her passion for storytelling to the rough New Jersey neighborhood she was raised in. As a child, she was rarely allowed to leave the safety of her house and passed her time fantasizing about flying, fairies, and things that go bump in the night. Gifted and cursed with an overactive imagination, she began writing in May 2009. Her Weird Girls Urban Fantasy Romance series is published with Penguin Random House’s Signet Eclipse and released to stellar praise from multiple reviewers including: Publisher’s Weekly, USA Today, and Romantic Times. THE WEIRD GIRLS: A Novella, SEALED WITH A CURSE, and A CURSED EMBRACE are now available. A CURSED MOON: A Novella, releases December 3, 2013, followed by CURSED BY DESTINY, January 7, 2014.






Dragos Takes a Holiday by Thea Harrison

Dragos Takes a Holiday (Elder Races, #6.5)


Publisher: Thea Harrison
Publishing Date: November 28, 2013
Ebook: ?? novella

Rating: 5 stars

The Bermuda Triangle. Pirates. The Peanut. What could possibly go wrong?

Dragos Cuelebre needs a vacation. So does Pia, his mate. When the First Family of the Wyr head to Bermuda for some much needed R&R, it’s no ordinary undertaking – and no ordinary weekend in the sun. Between hunting for ancient treasure buried beneath the waves and keeping track of their son, Liam—a.k.a. Peanut, whose Wyr abilities are manifesting far ahead of schedule—it’s a miracle that Pia and Dragos can get any time together.

They’re determined to make the most of each moment, no matter who tries to get in their way.

And did we mention pirates?

For Dragos Cuelebre, this has been one of the greatest, but craziest years in his millenia of existence. He was met and mated Pia, he lost two of his friends and sentinels to their own matings, he saved the Elven domain, he held the first Sentinel Games, and his mate gave him the greatest treasure that he has even had—his son, Liam. After a year like this, the Cuelebre family are in need of a quiet vacation.

At least that is what Pia is trying to convince Dragos to do with some subtle hints. She even gets out some books from the library on lost treasures knowing full well that an acquisitive dragon like Dragos won’t be able to resist a treasure hunting adventure and a family vacation in the Caribbean is just what Pia needs.

But you can’t expect a treasure hunt with the Lord of the Wyrs to be without complications. Especially since there are several parties already looking for the lost treasure of the Light Fae.

It doesn’t take long for a Wyr as powerful as Dragos to locate the treasure especially when it contains magical items and since the pirates can’t take the treasure from him, they take something much more valuable than gold—his newborn son.

Peanut is now my favorite character of all time! I absolutely love him! We have this story told not only from Pia and Drago’s POV, but we also have several chapters told by their son, Liam, affectionately known as Peanut. He is absolutely adorable!! He even won over the harpy, Aryal, in Kinked, he’s that cute.

I loved that Thea went back to Dragos and Pia in Lord’s Fall and we were able to once again enjoy time with them and their new son. It was an interesting and lighthearted novella. We have become complacent with Dragos. He is a devoted husband and now father. But this story shows just what happens when you cross someone as powerful and deadly as a Wyr-dragon. He isn’t Lord of the Wyr for nothing.

And did I mention how cute Peanut is??

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Scene:

Mommy carried him into his room. He thought things were going quite well until she set him down on the thick, soft rug in the middle of the floor.

No, that wasn’t what he wanted. That was very much not what he wanted.

He was tired again, and his mouth hurt, and he was hungry all of the time. Hungry for what, he didn’t know. Hungry, hungry.

So he scowled and concentrated mightily on something that he wanted.

And the world shifted.

He felt better. Quite a bit better, actually. His new mouth didn’t hurt at all, but he was still very hungry.

Mommy kept talking as she moved around his room. She pulled diapers out of drawers, set them on the changing table and turned to the closet. “…I want to take you to the beach and play in the sand with you, except I don’t know that we should. Are you too young to play in sand, or to go into salt water? Peanut, you are such a statistical outlier, half the time I have no idea what we should do with you.”

She turned away from the closet, her arms full of clothes. When she looked at him, she shrieked and dropped everything.

It startled him so badly he felt a burst of anxiety. He turned around to scoot backward toward her as fast as he could, but something flopped along his back, and his arms and legs weren’t working quite the way they had been earlier. He stopped, confused, and looked down at himself.

Slender white forelegs stretched to the floor. He picked up a front paw, staring at the talons. Then he looked over his shoulder and flexed sleek, graceful wings. A tail trailed the floor behind him. He reached for it with one forepaw and picked up the end. When he tugged at it, his butt wagged. The tail was attached to him.

Mommy knelt in front of him and cupped his face. He looked up into her eyes. She was teary and yet smiling. “You are the cleverest baby ever,” she said. “You’re so beautiful, and exactly how I first dreamed of you.”

Pleasure sleeked him down, and he smiled at her.

Her eyes went very round. Then she beamed at him. “That’s quite a mouthful of toofers you’ve got there, too.”

She gathered him up in her arms. He tucked his snout into the crook of her neck, and it was so good. It was almost everything he wanted, except….

He was so hungry.

He fussed and whined, and she sat on the floor and rocked him, while she dug her cell phone out of her pocket and moved her thumb rapidly over the keypad. “Dragos, you have to come home right now.”

Daddy’s sharp voice came over the phone. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong exactly, but Liam has changed and he’s upset.”

“What do you mean, he’s changed?”

“I mean he’s changed! He’s in his dragon form, and I can’t even tell you how beautiful he is. He’s also upset for some reason. Maybe it scared him? And you’re missing all of it. You need to come see this.”

“I’ll be right there.”

Mommy set the phone aside as Liam whined and plucked at her shirt. “Are you hungry?” she asked gently. He nodded. “I can’t nurse you when you’re like this, sweetheart, not with all of those razor sharp teeth.”

That was the saddest thing he had ever heard in his whole life. He lifted his head and looked at her, grief bleeding from his eyes.

“Oh Peanut, I’m so sorry. Please don’t look at me that way.” They considered each other desperately. Mommy’s expression turned firm. He folded his wings back and clung to her, as she rolled to her feet and carried him to the kitchen.

She opened the fridge door and pulled out a pan that had the something he was craving. It smelled oh, so good. He arched toward the pan, reaching with both front paws.

“Hold on—let me get the plastic wrap off first.”

She slid to the floor as he struggled to get to the contents in the pan. She snatched off the plastic wrap, set the pan on the kitchen tile, and he fell on the leftover sirloin roast. Eyes closed, his whole body tense, he focused on gorging on the meat.

Running footsteps sounded in the background, but it was only Daddy, so he ignored it. A moment later, Daddy said in a quiet voice, “Well, damn. Look at that. Hello, little man.”

A large, gentle hand came down on Liam’s back, between his wings, and contentment filled him.

“I didn’t know what else to do,” Pia said. “He acted like he was starving, and he has all those teeth. Then I remembered what you said about how he was going to need a lot of meat.”

“You did exactly what you should have,” said Daddy.

Liam finished off the roast. The hungriness had gone away, and his belly felt comfortably stretched and full. Sleepiness descended. Eyes drooping, he looked over his shoulder. Daddy and Mommy knelt on either side of him, both smiling.

He scooted backward toward Mommy. When she gathered him up, he turned to climb up her body until he lay draped along her shoulders.

“I’m telling you, this is just like my dreams,” Mommy said. She reached up to stroke his leg. He stopped listening to their conversation, tucked his snout in the neckline of her shirt and fell fast asleep.

Kinked by Thea Harrison

Kinked (Elder Races, #6)

ORDER A COPY: Kindle or AllRomanceEBooks

Publisher: Berkley
Publishing Date: November 5, 2013
Paperback: 304 pages

Rating: 5 stars

Two opponents must confront the cause of their obsessive fury in the latest Novel of the Elder Races…

As a harpy, Sentinel Aryal is accustomed to dealing with hate, but Sentinel Quentin Caeravorn manages to inspire in her a burning ire unlike anything she’s ever known. Aryal believes the new Sentinel to be a criminal, and vows to take him out as soon as the opportunity arises. But the harpy’s incessant wrath has pushed Quentin to the limit, and forces him to make a deadly vow of his own.

To put an end to the conflict, Dragos, Lord of the Wyr, sends them on a reconnaissance mission to the Elven land of Numenlaur. Forced to work together, Aryal and Quentin’s mutual antagonism escalates. Each fight draws forth more passion—culminating in an explosively sexual confrontation. But when their quest reveals real danger, Aryal and Quentin must resolve their differences in ways beyond the physical, before the entire Wyr is threatened.

Aryal is a harpy in every definition of the word. Not only in her Wyr form does she changes in the harpy of Greek Mythology with torso and head of a woman and wings and talons of a bird of prey, but her personality is that of a unpleasant shrew. And she likes it that way.

She is the only female Sentinel and in the recent Sentinel games, she once again proved her worthiness of that coveted position. But it is in the last game, that Quentin Caeravorn also earned one of the open spots which was vacated when Rune and Tiago left to be with their mates. Quentin was the former boss of Pia, Drago’s new mate. She might have to put up with Pia, but Aryal knows deep in her bones that there is something off about Quentin. She just hasn’t been able to pin anything specific on him. Two years of investigation has lead to dead ends and dried up leads, but she refuses to have someone as dirty as Quentin at her back.

When their dislike for each other puts them literally at each other’s throats, Dragos has had enough. He is sending them out of New York for the next month. They are being sent on a mission which they are required to complete together, without killing each other, and to find a way to settle their differences or else they will both be replaced.

Both would like nothing more than for an “accident” to help them out with removing their nemesis, but after hammering out their differences with fists, talons and claws, they are finally finding their way around the kinks in both of their dominant personalities.

This story had a lot a fun as well as a few touching moments. Aryal and Quentin are both dominant personalities and more ways than one. I love how they finally deal with their growing sexual tension by offering bargains and timing each other to allow each to have chance to dominate the other.

When they are forced to work together, they both decide that maybe an opportunity will arise where the other will get killed and then they can return to the sentinels without any guilt. Once with they work out their differences to at least some degree, their next thoughts include “hate sex.”

Aryal finally realized she would need to be nice to Pia so that she could get closer to Drago’s and Pia’s newborn son, Liam, who stole Arayal’s heart in just a few minutes of seeing his intelligent, cherubic face.

I really like Thea Harrison’s Elder Races series, and this was definitely a great addition to the rest of the series.

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Scene:

He was going to have to pause to think about this. He didn’t want to. His hands remembered how it felt to latch around her neck, and they wanted to do it again. Flexing his long fingers, he exited the gym–

Just down the hall, the door to one of the elevators opened, and Aryal and Grym walked out.

The sight of her was the same shock to the system as it always was, a raw live jolt of electricity that juddered over his nerve endings. Fueled by a surge of adrenaline, his mind leaped to a higher, faster level. This must be what it felt like for humans to jack on amphetamines.

He lunged down the hall toward her, noting every detail about her as he gained speed. As usual, she wore fighting leathers and her thick, black shoulder-length hair was tangled. Even though he knew that meant she had recently been airborne, she looked as rumpled as if she had just gotten out of bed. Her normally pale skin was flush all over with a clear, high color.

She looked as if she was glowing from an internal flame. Even though her face was uncharacteristically drawn with tiredness, she was still more alive than anyone he had ever met, ten times more vibrant than any other woman he had ever seen.

She was…glorious.

A stiletto of bitterness lanced him. Gods, if he could ever meet a woman like that whom he didn’t loathe as completed as he loathed her, he might lose this whip of restlessness that drove him. He could live the rest of his life and do nothing, be nothing but completely content. It was hideously unfair that he would look at this harpy and realize that about himself.

She saw him coming. Even though his intent was unmistakable, her fact lit up, because she was just bent that way. As she turned toward him, she swept one of her arms backward, hard, and knocked Grym in the chest so that he staggered back into the elevator. Then she strode forward to engage.

She didn’t even pause to say anything or ask Quentin why. They both knew there were so many reasons.

He leaped at her, and she dove low so that he overshot, but he thrust out one hand and grabbed a magnificent handful of that tangled black hair and yanked her with him.

They tumbled together, growling, arms and limbs entwined. He caught her scent, and she smelled like health woman, clean cold air and arousal.

So the rumors about her and Grym must be true. He liked Grym and found the thought of their pairing so offensive that his growling deepened and grew edged.

She flipped him onto his back. Heaving hard, he flipped them over again and covered her straining body with his. As he pinned her long, taut torso, their hips came into alignment. There was rough friction at his groin, along with her wild scent.

It was so goddamn primal.

His cock stiffened again. Bloody hell.

Her eyes flashed furiously through her tangled hair. Fire bloomed down the length of his back as she raked him with her talons Quicker than thought, breathing heavily, he punched her in the face. For one split second he thought she looked surprised and thoughtful. Then she twisted underneath him to knee him in the groin. More fire bloomed in an infernal garden.

He still had one fist clenched in her hair. Snarling, he yanked her head back and struck down, intended to fasten his teeth on her bared throat.

He never connected.

One moment they were locked together in a vicious, intimate embrace. The next moment he was several yards away, sprawled in a tangle against the wall in a complete disconnect with reality. He felt as if he had been kicked by a mountain.

Which in a way, he realized, he had been. His mind caught up with what had happened. Broken ribs protesting, he struggled to roll over onto his hands and knees, and he looked back in the direction of the elevators.

Dragos stood where they had been fighting, the harpy prone at his feet. Grym stood quietly in the open doorway of the elevator that Aryal had knocked him into, hands lax, all of his attention fixed on the Lord of the Wyr.

More details sank in. Dragos was dressed in jeans and a thin silk sweater, and he had one boot planted in the middle of Aryal’s back. He looked utterly furious, his roughhewn expression set in lines of brutality.

He also held his sleeping son cradled against his shoulder. Quentin had thought that baby was small before—just six pounds when he had been born, Pia had told him. Held against the tremendous musculature of his father’s chest, he looked as tiny as a small child’s doll.

Quentin’s mind flatlined.

He had thought he didn’t hold any illusions about Dragos. He knew that the only thing that could possibly take the dragon down was a dedicated army with inspired leadership and experienced magic users. But if he had ever held a secret daydream of someone besting Dragos in his human form in single, unarmed combat, that daydream had just been shattered forever.

Not only had Dragos just taken down two of the best, nastiest Wyr fighters in the world, he had done it by moving faster than Quentin could comprehend.

And he did it all without ever jostling the baby enough to wake him.

The Vampire with the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrelyn Sparks

The Vampire With the Dragon Tattoo (Love at Stake, #14)

ORDER A COPY: The Vampire With the Dragon Tattoo (Love at Stake)

Publisher: Avon Books
Publishing Date: August 27, 2013
Paperback: 384 pages

Rating: 5 stars

Dougal Kincaid has something to prove. After being injured in a battle with the Malcontents, he’s ready for active duty protecting unsuspecting mortals from these villainous vampires who want to rule the world. But first he has to get control of himself . . . because just the sight of a certain lovely doctor has his injured hand doing some peculiar things, not to mention the sizzling sensation that burns along his dragon tattoo.

Vampires? Vampires?! As a scientist, Leah is having trouble believing that these immortal creatures exist. But there they are, standing in front of her, asking for help in solving a genetic puzzle that can save mankind. There’s even one in a sexy kilt! Just one look into Dougal’s gorgeous green eyes sets her pulse racing. But can she trust him—and the overwhelming desire that refuses to be ignored?

Dougal Kincaid had a rather rough life. He was kidnapped as a boy and was pressed into service on a ship. When his ship was overtaken by pirates, he was sold into slavery. It was only through the love of the master’s daughter that she helped him escape his bondage, but Dougal couldn’t save her in return. Her death has haunted him for the last 300 years.

After being turned into a vampire in 1749, his life had improved. He had friends and he was always able to enjoy playing his beloved bagpipes. But his life once again took a dismal turn when he lost his right hand during a battle with the malcontents. Now all anyone wants to talk to him about is his missing hand.

Dougal had to learn to sword fight left handed and then after he received a prosthetic hand, he learned to again fight right handed. Being ambidextrous makes him value to MacKay S&I, but Dougal wants more from his life than the next bloody battle.

Dougal lost more than just his hand that day. He lost his ability to play his bagpipes. His music was part of his soul, and without it he has felt lost.

When Roman brings in geneticist, Leah Chin to help deal with Master Han’s superhuman slaves, Douglas is captivated by her from the moment she walks into Romatech. Something about her reminds him of the woman he lost 300 years ago, and he is not about to let anything happen to her again.

But Leah isn’t too sure that she can deal with a relationship with a vampire, although Dougal’s quiet manner and green eyes haunts her dreams.

More than anything Dougal wants to be able to woo Leah with his music and show her that there is more to the man than just the vampire she sees.

i really love this series and now it is Dougal’s turn.   Dougal is a very deep and complex character. I really liked the way his story unfolded. He is quiet and awkward, even with his fellow vampires, and that has only increased since he lost his hand.

Leah is a genius and completed her doctorate at age 21. Starting college at 14 after being homeschooled, left Leah socially awkward and not used to having any friends. She is used to people showing a friendly face, only so they can use her knowledge.

They understand each other and this quickly forms a bond between the two of them.

I was a little disappointed in Howard’s story, although I can’t explain exactly what bothered me about it, maybe it was the fairytale aspect, but I enjoyed Dougal’s story. Usually I don’t like the reincarnated storyline, but in this story it was presented more that Leah reminded him of the woman he lost and what is what caught his initial attention. He declares often that Leah is quite different from Li Lei and he wants Leah.

There was also the continuing storyline where we are trying to defeat Master Han who is being helped by the demon Darafar.

Received an ARC from courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Scene:

A wailing sound echoed in the distance, and she turned her head toward it. It sounded familiar somehow, like a distant memory. A chill skittered down her back, and she pulled on her thick cardigan sweater.

She crossed the basketball court, headed for the gazebo. The sound grew louder, more confident.  More beautiful. She halted with a gasp. It was pipe music. Just like Grandpa had played that magical summer. She’d thought the pipes were the most beautiful sound in the world.

She closed her eyes to listen, and the plaintive melody enveloped her, seeped into her skin, and settled in her heart. So much emotion. She didn’t know how the pipes could sound like they were crying, but they did.

Tears filled her eyes as flashes of memory returned from fourteen years ago. The green fields of Ireland. Her grandfather’s lilting voice and warm hug. She’d never had to earn his hugs with straight As. He had loved her for simply being herself. He would have loved this music.

Was it Dougal? It had to be him. How could she resist such a man? His handsome face touched her heart, and his music lured her soul. As she followed the sound of the pipes, her skin pebbled with goosebumps. Was she following her destiny?

Leah, I’ve waited so long for you.

His voice whispered in her mind. He was still thinking about her, still wanting her. She passed the gazebo and headed for the woods. A white shirt came into view.

It was him. She didn’t want to disturb his playing, so she remained halfway hidden behind a tree. He was seated on a bench, his head bowed and forehead furrowed as he concentrated on his hands. His left hand moved easily and gracefully, but the fingers on his prosthetic hand were jerky and slow.

Leah’s heart ached for him. How it must hurt him to struggle with his music. He ended the plaintive melody and sighed.

“Enough of sadness,” he whispered. “I need joy in my life.” I need Leah.

Her breath caught. Should she tell him she was here? Did she dare? In a split second, she knew that if she approached him now, her life would be forever changed. She would fall for a vampire, and he would never let her go.

Her feet froze, unable to move.

He launched into a happy jig, but after a few bars, his prosthetic hand couldn’t keep up. She grimaced as the music soured and declined into a jarring noise.

“Dammit!” He tossed the pipes onto the ground, and they let out a dying wail as leftover air fizzled from the bag. “Damn it to hell.” He strode toward the building, his kilt swishing about his knees.

She stood still, watching him go, then her gaze shifted back to the pipes where they rested on a bed of dead leaves. A breeze stirred up more leaves, and they settled on the bag. In another hour, they might be completely covered with dead leaves. Buried.

A surge of anger shot through her. How dare he give up! He played from his soul. Without music, how would his soul survive?

She wouldn’t let him quit. She strode toward the pipes and gathered them up in her arms. Her grip caused the remaining air in the bag to escape, and the pipes protested with a forlorn wail.

“What are ye doing?” he asked softly.

She whirled around. “I-I didn’t think these should be left outside.”

His brow furrowed with a deep scowl. “How long have ye been out here?”

“Long enough.” She lifted her chin. “You came back awfully fast.”

“I can move verra quickly.” His mouth thinned. “At least my feet can.”

“I know you were having trouble with the jig, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from playing. The slow music was absolutely—“

“Sad,” he interrupted her, his eyes flashing.

“I was going to say beautiful.”

“Nay. It was melancholy. And pathetic. Should I spend the rest of my miserably long life with only sad music to fill my soul?”

“Better to have a sad soul than an empty one.” She held the pipes out to him. “And you have to believe that it will get better. You can’t give up on yourself.”

Tall, Dark and Vampire by Sara Humphreys

Tall, Dark, and Vampire (Dead in the City, #1)

ORDER A COPY: Tall, Dark, and Vampire

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publishing Date: August 6, 2013
Paperback: 320 pages

Rating: 4 Stars

We’re talking today with author Sara Humphreys about her new series, Dead in the City, her new Demon serials, and saying goodbye to the Amoveo Legend. Check it out.

The last person Olivia Hollingsworth expected to see at her Greenwich Village vampire club was her one true love, Doug Paxton—whom she believed to be dead for centuries. Olivia thought she had moved on, but when Doug reappears, her heart knows she’d rather die than lose him again.

Ever since Doug can remember, a red-haired siren has haunted his dreams. He never thought she could be real until he goes to investigate a murder at Olivia’s night club. However, as the bodies keep piling up at her feet, he must fight to prove her innocence—even if it costs him his life.

Det. Douglas Paxton knew there was something off when he arrived at the nightclub known as The Coven and saw the redheaded beauty standing outside the club. The same beauty who has been haunting his dreams for years now. There was no possible way that she was real. But Doug also knew trouble when he saw it and this place was sending his cop-senses screaming that something was just not right. He had to get his head back into the game and stop focusing on her. People we dying and the killer’s trail was leading right to her doorstep. She might look like his dreamscape beauty, but she was also a possible suspect in the brutal slayings.

Doug wasn’t the only one reeling from their first meeting. To Doug, Olivia was simply a woman he met in vivid dreams. For Olivia, Doug looks just like her great love who she lost the night she was made vampire 300 years ago. As Olivia comes to realize that Doug doesn’t just look like her true love, he is her love reincarnated. She also comes to realize that unless she is willing to turn him, she will be forced to someday watch him die once again.

Although forcing a vampire life on Doug is the last thing she wants to do, when the killer leaves Doug for dead behind her nightclub, Olivia knows she won’t lose him again. When he wakes, Olivia finds that in fact Doug might never forgive her, especially when his turning is…off. He wakes too early from his turning, he has an older vamp’s control of his bloodlust, and his new abilities fall to him naturally…too naturally. Is there such a thing as a naturally born vampire?

As Doug tries to adjust to what is happening to him, they still have a killer to find. A killer who seems to be bringing death right to Olivia’s front door.

A great start to a great new series. There are a few campy vampire abilities, like flying; not changing to a bat, but just flying. Overall, the story was well told and kept your attention, and the characters were well written.

Doug was a stand out character here: dedicated cop unaware of the supernatural, who drawn to the heroine through dreams. He was flawlessly turned into a vampire as if he had been turned hundreds of years ago and not just this morning. That alone kept you guessing as to what was up with Doug, let alone the whole “who is the killer” mystery.

We also met many other characters who I am sure will be the focus of future novels.

A great new paranormal series.

Received an ARC from, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you!

Favorite Scene:

“I need to know if you’re real, or if I’m making it all up, like that kiss in the alley.” His erection pressed against her lower back as his hands brushed down her bare arms. “Was that you, Olivia? Was it another dream or a hallucination from hitting my head?”

He didn’t know what was real and what was imaginary and probably felt like he was going insane. Olivia wanted to tell him, but where would she begin? How could she explain something she was still trying to understand?

Doug licked the hypersensitive skin along her neck as he murmured, “Even if it is all just dreams, I don’t care. It feels pretty fucking real.”

He gripped her shoulders and nuzzled her curly red hair off her neck. She arched back, lifted her hands through his short hair, bathing in the feel of his masculine hands as they massaged her breasts. A lusty moan escaped her lips as Doug trailed hot kisses along her neck, and he pinched her nipples as they peaked in response. She pressed herself further into his grasp, desperate to get closer, while he nibbled on the exposed skin.

“I feel like I’ve been looking for you forever–my whole life,” he murmured. “Every time you get closer, but no matter how much I get, it is’t enough. I want more. I want it all.”

His hands wandered to her waist and rested on the gentle curve of her hips. She pressed back and ground against him, which elicited a moan of pleasure as his lips pressed against the crook of her neck.

“Then what are you waiting for?” Olivia spun in his arms, grabbed his face with both hands, and whispered against his lips, “Take it.”

He captured her mouth with his greedily, and she opened for him, letting him plunder. Devouring her as though she might vanish from his embrace at any moment, he scooped her up and carried her toward the abandoned taxi parked at the curb. Olivia kicked off her stilettos, wrapped her arms around his neck, and deepened the kiss–licking and nipping at his firm, warm lips–all the while wishing it were more than a dream.

He sat her down on the hood of the cab and stood between her legs, which she promptly wrapped around his waist, tugging him harder against her. Heat pressed enticingly against heat. Doug cradled her head in his hands and suckled on her lower lip before breaking the kiss. He rested his forehead on hers and brushed his thumb along the skin of her cheek as her hands rested on his ass.

He pulled back abruptly and lifted her chin, forcing her to look him in the face, and when their eyes met, all the breath rushed from his lungs. Familiar turquoise eyes stared at her beneath a furrowed brow, and she watched as the pieces came together.

“It’s you,” he said under his breath. “I’m not crazy, am I, Olivia? The second I laid eyes on you tonight outside the club, I knew you were mine. I’ve dreamt of you since I can remember, but I never though you could be real.” He moved closer, brushing his lips along the corner of her mouth. “And then, there you were on a New York City sidewalk in living color.

The Wicked by Thea Harrison

The Wicked (Elder Races, #5.5)

ORDER A COPY: The Wicked (A Novella of the Elder Races)

Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publishing Date: July 2, 2013
eBook: 105 pages

Rating: 5 stars

The adventure of a lifetime might just end in turmoil, but when it includes meeting your future mate, who gives a hoot?

A Novella of the Elder Races

For a librarian with a focus on rare magic books, Olivia’s new job is a dream come true. She has been hired as part of a team to help manage the safe transportation of the collection of books owned by the Vampyre sorceress Carling Severan. The fact that the library is located on a mysterious island in an Other land only heightens the adventure.

Head of security for the expedition, Sebastian Hale is tired of his rootless life of adventure and finds himself attracted to the calm, beautiful librarian. But he is living a personal nightmare. He has been hit with a curse that is slowly taking away his sight, and he doesn’t know if he will survive the results.

But the powerful feelings growing between them, along with Sebastian’s inner turmoil, take a backseat when they learn there is a traitor lurking among their expedition team. With Elder Races politics and a priceless library on the line, they’ll have to rely on each other to survive the experience.

Warning: When a librarian who likes to nest meets an owl Wyr who has always lived for adventure, their romance won’t just be fly-by-night.

Olivia Sutton is a librarian as well as a witch. When Olivia’s friend, Grace Andreas, set her up to meet Carling Severan, former leader of the Nightkind, to be part of the expedition to return to the Other land to retrieve Carling’s extensive collection of magical books, Olivia thought she was setting off for the greatest adventure of her life. Going to an Other land and getting a rare view of Carling’s vast collection of mystics books, including ancient Egyptian papyruses, is a dream come true for a witch-librarian.

She couldn’t know that that adventure would include a gorgeous Wyr named Sebastian Hale would was heading up the security team, and who would turn her world upside down in the most incredible way.

Nor did she realize that she would actually be making friends with a oddball Djinn.

But she also couldn’t know that Julian Regillus, the current Nightkind King and Carling’s child, would do everything he could to stop Carling from getting those books.

This will definitely change Olivia’s life, as long as she can survive the adventure.


I really enjoy Thea Harrison’s Elder Races series and this was a great short short which I read in an afternoon. Sadly, it reminded me that I missed the series since catching up with Oracle’s Moon. This story also gives us a quick update with Grace Andreas and the Djinn Khalil from Oracle’s Moon and how their lives have changed since Oracle’s Moon.

Like all series, there are characters and stories that I liked more than some others, and even though it was a very short story, I really enjoyed the characters of Olivia and Sebastian. Olivia was smart and thoughtful, and willing to give an almost childlike, annoying and temperamental Djinn a chance, and Sebastian who quickly sees how special and unique Olivia is and will fight to keep her. The story also highlighted several times how one moment can change everything. i.e.

And the job remained just has he thought it would, mind numbingly routine.

Right up to the moment a human witch–a librarian–appeared in a whirlwind of Power and called a Djinn a dimwit.

Witnessing that little scene was like having a switch thrown in his head. Just like that, after five years of a dangerous, growing ennui, he came back online, sharper and clearer than he had ever been. Engaged again. Interested.

My only problem with this story is the same problem I had with Carling’s story, Serpent’s Kiss, and that is the magical library is underused as a plot point. She has a library filled with magical books, some with light magic and some filled with dark magic which literally call to you to tempt you to come open them and investigate the magic inside, and no one is opening these books. WHAT??? Have someone open the wrong book. Release some dark magic. Cause Chaos. Magical Mayhem. There’s a whole lot of plotline being ignored in the form this magical library.

A quick check shows that Thea Harrison has a new novel due out in November featuring Harpie, Aryal and another novella in December featuring Dragos again. Yay! I want to see the dragon baby again.

Received ARC from, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.

Favorite Scene:

The protective bubble that Phaedra had drawn around Sebastian’s cabin popped, and a few moments later Bailey pounded twice on the door.

“They’re finally gone,” Bailey called through the barrier. “The fucking fuckers.”

Sebastian raised his voice, the deep timbre vibrating against Olivia’s cheek. “It’s about time. Ill be right out.”

Olivia wasn’t ready to let go of him. The hard length of his body against hers, the feel of his arms around her, all answered some kind of urgent question that she hadn’t even known she was asking. Reluctantly, she lifted her head from Sebastian’s shoulder, and they looked at each other.

Then, moving with deliberation, he cupped the back of her neck, drew her forward and kissed her. When his firm, mobile lips met hers, she felt another much-needed answer. Her lips parted and he dove into her mouth deeply with his tongue, stunning her with the swiftness of his invasion.

Her world whirled in a kaleidoscopic tilt. She hadn’t expected the kiss. She was still amazed that he had confided in her, and that they had embraced.

She hadn’t expected this.

His mouth was set, hard and demanding. Still kissing her, he pushed her back and back, and she complied until she came in contact with the wall. His body covered her. He took her wrists, pinning her arms over her head and shoved one muscled, jean-clad leg between hers. His movements were so aggressive, so surprising, a shaken moan broke out of her. Dear God, he had an erection. The hard length of it pressed against her hip.

He lit her world on fire. Everything burned with incandescent light.

She wanted to touch his hair to find out if it was as soft as it looked. She wanted to touch him. Her fingers opened and closed in fists. The hard shackles of his hands prevented her from touching him the way she needed to. All she could do was squeeze his leg between hers, arch against his body and kiss him back, so she did, while her heart took off on a manic gallop, running as fast as it could straight toward him.

His breath came and went rapidly, his wide chest working like a bellows. He drew back and stared at her, his strange, golden-amber-and-black-gaze fierce. Along with the muscles of his lean body, the lines of his face has sharpened.

The realization crept in that she stared at an entirely dangerous man, and she had no idea what he would do next.

“You could always just lock the door,” she whispered. Goodness, the things that fell out of her mouth on this trip.

His face blazed. Looking utterly barbaric, he ground his hips against hers. It tore a ragged cry out of her, because she had never felt like this before, never. Not with any of her dates or former lovers. Normally she was a calm, considering person, a bit of a nerd if she were to be quite honest, but now a strange, crazed creature had taken over her body.

“Yo!” Bailey pounded on the door again. “The crew’s starting to arrive.”

He bared his teeth. He looked utterly savage. “I said I’m on my way!”

“Take your time,” said Bailey. The other woman sounded extremely cheerful. “Just letting you know.”

He hissed in the direction of the door. “Go the fuck away.”

Olivia had focused her attention on the rapid pulse beating at the base of his strong jaw. She muttered, “Would you mind if I bit you?”

Wait, who just said that?

He released one of her wrists to yank his fingers violently through is speckled hair. “God. Damn. Yes. I mean no, I don’t mind. Yes, you should bite me. As many times as you want.” He thrust a stiffened finger under her nose. “We’re going to continue this very soon. got that, Olivia?”

She nodded drunkenly, staring at the finger. He kissed her again, swiftly and hard, and then with a growl he shoved away from her and the wall and strode out of the cabin.


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